Best Décor - 2005
Two décors live under one gilded roof at downtown's chic, fast-paced Red Moon, the first foray into the local market by a pair of Chicago-based restaurateurs. In the main dining rooms, boldly painted concrete walls sporting odd bits of stenciled graffiti stand in textural contrast to the lush, velvet curtains that divide the space, while striking canvases (mostly from local artists) portray, among other things, a jaunty Mickey-esque mouse, a splendidly turned-out rooster and the enormous head of a weepy woman (too much galangal?). Cutout details on the chairs and fabric-covered, upended wedding cakes of overhead lights add to the architecture. The kitchen's open, but off to the west side of the room and far-off enough that even the closest tables won't have to watch the stress-inducing pace and heat unless they like pretending they're on Hell's Kitchen. But how you feel about the eye-popping visual environment might ultimately come down to your gut reaction to Asian teen erotica. In a nook that houses the chef's table for private parties, the walls are plastered, collage-style, with countless pix of nubile Asian women in various poses and states of undress. Some will be delighted, others appalled. Vive la différence! And pass the blue-crab-and-ginger bisque!